Phantasm – one of the most acclaimed viol consorts of recent years - take us on an unearthly trip through English consort music: a hundred years of musical fantasy. Their five viola da gamba’s are like a velvety sound machine that gently transports us to higher spheres. Nowhere was this noble instrument family more popular than in England and nowhere was the quality of such consort music higher. For leading composers, such as Byrd, Tye and Purcell, chamber music was more than just a frivolous aside; it was a much-loved medium in which they could experiment freely with breathtaking counterpoint, sensual chromaticism, innovative timbres and bizarre composition techniques. This enabled Purcell to compose a fantasia based on a single note!
A farewell concert featuring the 16th and 17th centuries’ most exhilarating viol consort music.
Laurence Dreyfus (treble vio) Emilia Benjamin (director, treble viol) Jonathan Manson (tenor viol) Mikko Perkola (tenor viol) Markku Luolajan-Mikkola with Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo)
Phantasm, directed by Laurence Dreyfus, will appear alongside acclaimed theorbist Elizabeth Kenny performing some of the most brilliant pieces by Gibbons, Purcell, Locke, Lawes, and Ward.
This performance marks the end of the award-winning viol consort’s 10 year residency at the University of Oxford both as Consort-in-Residence at the Faculty of Music and at Magdalen College. Phantasm’s concerts have become a much loved fixture of the Oxford musical scene. This concert will be an excellent opportunity to indulge in the wonderful soundworld of Phantasm as their residency comes to an end.
Contemplation and cultivation of the imagination appear to have been central to the English fantasia.
Purcell’s contribution to the genre, as so often with his work, reached heights rarely scaled by others, although he was clearly inspired by the legacy of compositions by Orlando Gibbons, William Lawes, Matthew Locke and John Ward.
Phantasm’s programme digs deep into the seventeenth-century viol consort tradition to reveal its greatest treasures.
Henry Purcell: A Retrospective is made possible thanks to all our contributors to the Wigmore Hall Endowment Fund, whose purpose is to help fund important artistic projects.